Thursday, January 15, 2009

David Eckstein and Jae Kuk Ryu

More transactions!

Today we signed INF David Eckstein to a one-year deal and claimed RHP Jae Kuk Ryu off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Eckstein doesn't need much of an introduction. He has spent the past eight seasons in the big leagues, playing shortstop mostly with the Angels and Cardinals. Over those years he compiled a .284/.351/.361 line (including two World Series rings) while establishing his reputation as a winning player. David is a true grinder who is a very tough out and does all the little things well - a great example for our younger players. We expect him to play primarily 2B in 2009, which was his position in college and throughout the minor leagues (anyone know who played SS on David's college team?).

Jae Kuk Ryu is a 25-year old right-handed pitcher from Seoul, South Korea. Originally signed for $1.6 million by the Cubs in 2001, Ryu has spent parts of the past three seasons in the Majors with Chicago and Tampa Bay. His 2008 season ended prematurely, however, as he was shut down in May and had relatively minor elbow surgery in June. Ryu's fastball sits around 90 mph while reaching as high as 92, and he complements it with both a curveball and a changeup. According to our scouts, all of his pitches grade out as at least Major League average, and he can throw all three for strikes. Given his repertoire and success as a starter in the minor leagues, we believe Ryu can compete for a spot in our rotation or our pen. He has one minor league option remaining.

We still have just under a month to go before pitchers and catchers report and there are a lot of players still out there, so I would guess there will be more activity forthcoming.

29 comments:

Russ said...

(anyone know who played SS on David's college team?).

Mark Ellis?

taisoo said...

wasn't that mark ellis who was the SS for the gators when eckstein was there?

David said...

Mark Ellis

ross said...

Sorry Paul, I can't get excited about Eckstein. I'd much rather see his AB's go to the youngsters so we can figure out what kind of players we have.

GonzoSteve said...

You failed to mention Eckstein's incredibly high grittiness/9 innings stats. This is a very disappointing and ineffective move, in my extremely inexpert opinion.

Paul DePodesta said...

You are all correct on Mark Ellis - good call.

By the way, I meant to approve one comment and for some reason it didn't take, and now it's gone. If you wrote in a comment about Everth Cabrera, please write it again and I'll be sure to post it. Sorry.

Zach Sanders said...

I believe it was Mark Ellis.

I actually like this signing. For a team in the Padres position, Eckstein is a great guy to fill a role until further notice.

Tom said...

Agree with ross. Why spend money on someone who's not going to be a Padre when the rest of the team is good.

Ryu? What about David Aardsma?

jason m. said...

Paul, I know it's the manager's job to decide what the batting order is going to be but as a Padre fan, what are your thoughts on an Eckstein-Giles-Gerut top of the order? Two guys who see a lot of pitches and draw a ton of walks followed by Gerut, a guy who led the team in HR/AB's (HR every 12.7 AB's)during the 2nd half of the season and was really killing the ball before his season-ending injury. Not sure if Bud will take Giles out of the 3 spot but I think he is a perfect fit as the #2 hitter with Gerut and Gonzalez in the 3 and 4 holes.

Andy Seiler said...

What's the word on Ryu's health as of now? Is he throwing off the mound yet?

David said...

I'll add the Gators' first baseman to the mix just for fun: Brad Wilkerson. That was a pretty decent college infield!

Loren said...

I feel like I keep repeating my posts because if Eckstein's now playing 2B, then who's the shortstop? Are you guys going to play Cabrera or Rodriguez or someone else?

I do like the Eckstein move because him and Gerut/Rodriguez will provide some very good OBP and speed to the top of the line up which will compliment Giles/Agon/Kouz/Headley as the power part of hte line up

Politicsjeff said...

I hope that management would still look to acquire Omar Vizquel to bolster the defense, even if it means using Vizquel primarily in the late innings, it could be a big boost....Is it possible, even after Eck signing to still get Omar in here ?

The EveryServer said...

David Eckstein? Really? I thought this front office was all about sabermetrics? He just doesn't match up offensively, I don't care how "gritty" (aka white) he is. Don't you ever read firejoemorgan.com? Those guys have conniptions over Eckstein. *sigh* I guess we'll have to wait until football season to see a competitive team take the field in San Diego again.

hector said...

props on the signing of Eckstein.

once Andruw Jones clears waivers, what are the odds the Padres claim him?

Also, when can you comment on a player? when he is released? when he clears waivers? when he is Designated for Assignment?

I know the potential answer is that there is no roster space for Jones, but if he is good, the guy can hit and at the very least bring a nice bounty around mid season.

Fausto said...

The 2009 Padres are going to be the best under 50 million Dlls Budget Team. Moorad We want you Bad.. Let's Trade Kouz for More Power like Delmong Young and a Reliever Let's Trade Giles who needs some alone time out of SD for a Starter Let's Sign Adam Dunn for a 6 Year Deal 1st Year We Pay Him 1 million the nex 5 we pay him 17 Million/ year. Well I am a Dreamer... I know The Pads Have The Tallent to be competitive but we need another bit more power.......

Pete said...

What you guys fail to realize is that a team full of youngsters need veterans like Eckstein to come in and lead. He'll be a great example for the youngsters to model themselves after.

Eugene Tierney said...

As a Cardinal fan, I can't say anything bad about Eckstein. The biggest thing he'll bring to this team is showing young players how they should play the game. He signs autos before every game, is the first to warm up and the last one done, and you'll never see him not hussle.

Sure, his baseball skills are in decline; the permanent move to second should help ease that.

timrooks said...

Because it is not much money. 850k for a guy the Blue Jays paid 4.5m to last year. Is he a championship caliber player? No. Does he increase revenue by at least 850k? Almost certainly.

Jamie Walker said...

Ok, I am a Jays fan and had the unfortunate chance to watch him play last year and I am glad he is gone. Eck as a SS had terrible range and no arm. At 2nd that shouldn't be as much of an issue.

At the plate he was as advertised. But it is amazing how frustrating it is to watch a guy hit .270-.280 with no pop. The OFs almost play in the infield. When he does get on base he doesn't have the speed to be much of a SB threat.

Markl said...

There have been a couple of people express disappointment in the Eckstein signing, and I can see reasons for that view. I would caution, however, against fans disapproval of this view based on the developed anti-Eckstein sentiment in the stathead community. That sentiment developed as a recoil against the MSM's overrating the value of Eckstein's intangible (read: non-existent) qualities. At the price the Padres are getting Eckstein, it would be hard to argue that San Diego is buying into that inflated evaluation.

The Padres have acquired a player who can competently field both middle infield positions while posting a .350 OBP for what's reported to be a $1,000,000 base salary. Even if this move does nothing more than give the Padres a trade chit for a C+ (Sickels rating) prospect at some point in the future, it is a good move.

If some of the qualities Paul espouses influence other players, all the better.

One commenter noted that Eckstein's going to take at bats from other players, and that's undeniable. Eckstein's acquisition, however, gives the staff the option of maintaining players at their proper development level (e.g., not rushing them), should that be the evaluation. I find it difficult to believe that the Padres are going to sacrifice a younger player's opportunity for Eckstein's, should the players show themselves to be equals during the course of the season.

WebSoulSurfer said...

I like the signing of Eckstein.

He has always been a pest at the plate. A hitter that just fouled off pitch after pitch until he walked or got a base hit. His high p/pa and .350 career obp points to that as well.

Not only that but he can start at 2B and play SS as well.

So if one of the kids like Denker or Antonelli really explode, Eckstein can move over and help out at SS to give them playing time at 2B.

$850k is a bargain for this caliber of player.

Are you projecting him to bat lead off or 2nd in the batting order behind Gerut?

What does this mean for Antonelli? I would think that a season of playing daily in AAA would do him good. Give him a chance to get his confidence back while playing in a hitter friendly PCL, rather than Petco.

Also, does this mean you have stopped looking at SS or are you still looking for more depth at that position as well?

fred45 said...

Hi Paul,

Our starting rotation seems incomplete at this time. Two out of five spots are excellent but the rest seem very questionable to most people. I'm sure you guys know this but I'm wondering if you're (the organization) more liable to fill the shortstop void or the rotation. In other words, if Headley or Kouz were healthy and producing, what area would pique your interest quicker?

Thanks

P.S.- Your blog rocks! This is great.

bullpeners said...

Paul-
I just hope that Eckstein doesn't fall under the Barfield curse (every 2B since Josh was traded has failed, miserably). His energy alone should help on a team that looked downright lethargic last season.
On another topic, can you comment on why Friarfest was cancelled this year? It's fun and helps build enthusiasm in the fan base. Something I would think the organization would want to encourage, this year especially. Or has everyone just given up trying?

zino said...

My two kids favorite players on the Padres were Khalil and Trevor... Both are gone now. Interestingly you can find issue with both players performance on the field, but both were big draws with kids... Trevor time, always gave us goose bumps, and you could almost always count on Khalil to have one spectacular play at shortstop per game... Not sure how you can replace them...

Jason said...

The EveryServer said...
David Eckstein? Really? I thought this front office was all about sabermetrics? He just doesn't match up offensively, I don't care how "gritty" (aka white) he is. Don't you ever read firejoemorgan.com? Those guys have conniptions over Eckstein. *sigh*


That made me laugh out loud. TES, you have to realize that FJM's vendetta "against" Eckstein was really an effort to expose the media's endless and unjust praise for Eckstein and his influence on games. This doesn't mean that he's a terrible or useless baseball player, just that he was getting a disproportionate share of credit for the success of his teams. FJM's problem with Eck wasn't really with Eck, it was with the media coverage he received.

Eckstein has baseball value, especially for the $ amount the Pads signed him for. It's all a matter of talent/skill relative to salary, and in this case, Eckstein represents a good value. So long as we understand his skill-set (and by extension his limitations), we can create reasonable expectations for him.

Good site Mr. Depodesta. Best of luck with the Pads this year.

B.T. Charpied said...

Paul -

I understand the Eckstein signing and believe that David will bring a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to the ball club.

However, I'm somewhat concerned about what this means for Matt Antonelli.

2008 was clearly a lost year for the promising 2B prospect, but I'm surprised that he isn't being given another shot at 2B with Eckstein slotting in at SS. I would think working in tandem with David could do wonders for Matt.

Matt had an awfully unlucky year in 2008. While a 17.4% Line Drive rate isn't that of a world beater, it should always translate into a BABIP higher than the .222 that Antonelli was victim of.

Just wanted to see if I could get your thoughts on Matt.

Thanks.

-BTC

Mr. Faded Glory said...

Oh joy.. now I get to hear Grant and Vasgersian go overboartd in praise for Eckstein whenever he grounds out or makes a routine play and all about how tall he is and what an inspiration he is and how he grinds... terrible signing for the Padres unless they expected him to be a reserve IF

larryz said...

Jody Gerut is a player I wish the Pirates would have held onto. A very nice year in 2008. I knew he was capable of that when healthy. Pirates just ran out of patience -unfortunate for us.